Todd Archer, ESPN's Cowboys reporter, cited multiple sources on Thursday as saying Witten has already spoken to Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones and head coach Jason Garrett to inform them of the decision. He said in December that he was returning for a 16th season, which would've set a Cowboys franchise record, but that was before Jon Gruden left his post on MNF for the Raiders' coaching job. Witten, who will turn 36 on May 6, recently mentioned that he planned to play football until he was 40 years old but that won't be the case.
As Jason Witten's storied Cowboys career comes to an end, so does the career of one of the few remaining impact in-line tight ends, a dying breed in today's NFL. One of the top highlights of his collegiate career was catching the game-winning 25-yard touchdown in the Vols' 41-38 six-overtime victory over Arkansas in 2002. Witten and Romo became one of the NFL's most prolific duos, as well as BFFs, leading to the tight end's two All-Pro honors (2007, 2010).
"That's something that's hard".
"I was never the most talented or flashiest".
Jerry and other members of the Jones family were in tears after Witten's official announcement. He leaves a legacy that is secure, according to Romo. See you in Canton. "He really was that guy". He finished his career now second all-time in career catches and receiving yards by tight ends, only trailing Tony Gonzalez.
The best part? The Cowboys were leading 35-10 at the time and could've easily milked the clock if Witten just settled for a mere 20-yard catch for a first down. Watching that piece make it glaringly obvious why he would want to take the money and sprint to TV.
Remarkably, he did not miss a single game since the 2004 season as he went on to play a franchise record 239 total games, including 235 consecutive games for the Cowboys.
"I don't think it's our place to be talking him into something", Jones said Wednesday (via the Dallas Morning News). McFarland has emerged as somewhat of a rising star at ESPN, jumping from SEC Network to ESPN's main college football team in 2017, while also appearing on numerous weekday shows including Mike and Mike to Get Up.